Dick Advocaat is delighted to have signed Jeremain Lens; a player he believes will have no trouble finding the net for Sunderland.
Only relegated Burnley (28) scored fewer goals than the Black Cats’ tally of 31 last season as they once more battled against the drop into the Championship. That their top goalscorers – Steven Fletcher and Connor Wickham – bagged just five each is evidence enough that a new forward was a priority for the team ahead of next term.
And Advocaat hopes he has now gone some way to rectify this issue by paying £8million for Dutch compatriot Lens. The 27-year-old, who joined from Dynamo Kiev, has scored eight goals in 29 appearances for his country, and is a player the Stadium of Light coach knows well from his time in charge of AZ Alkmaar and PSV Eindhoven.
“We have signed an international player and I am delighted to welcome him to Sunderland,” he said. “He is a very well-known player in Europe and has played 29 games for the Dutch national side, which shows his calibre. I have worked with him twice already, at PSV and AZ, so I know him well; he is fast and he has scored goals everywhere he has played.”
Lens has enjoyed the past two seasons in the Ukraine, where he helped Dynamo to the domestic cup in his first campaign and the league and cup last term. He was part of Louis van Gaal’s Alkmaar squad which won the Eredivisie in 2009, and scored the final goal as Phillip Cocu’s PSV won the 2012 KNVB Cup against Heracles three years later.
Despite Advocaat’s claim that Lens has scored goals wherever he has been, the forward’s record is not perhaps as impressive as many Black Cats fans might expect. For Alkmaar he played 71 times and scored 17 goals, which is one fewer than he managed in 78 outings for Dynamo. He played for PSV on 138 occasions, and scored 43 goals.
Nevertheless, Advocaat will know how to get the best out of him, and he at least provides Sunderland with another much-needed option in attack. Lens becomes their third signing of the summer transfer window, following defenders Sebastian Coates, who joins from Liverpool after impressing on loan last season, and Adam Matthews from Celtic.